Tagged: Emergency planning

Immediate responses to flood or storm warning

This is an extract from Emergency Planning and Response for Libraries, Archives and Museums by Emma Dadson.

Where buildings are located in a flood or hurricane prone area, there may be an automated notification system, which advises when there is a risk of an extreme weather event, providing people with an opportunity to minimize damage to their collections, such as Floodline in the UK. Details of the action to take when such warnings are received should form part of an emergency plan.

Even if you consider yourself not to be in a flood risk area, it may be that you are at risk of secondary flooding if drains are overwhelmed by a volume of water; consider including procedures in your emergency procedures document even if you assume the risk is small. If warnings are provided about likely flood times and river peaks, there may be a window of opportunity to protect the building (by limiting the entry of water) and evacuate objects. The ability of salvage volunteers to get home safely before the flood peak must be given paramount importance.

These are some key steps that can be taken to minimize the damage in advance of flooding:

  • Turn off gas, electricity, and water supplies at mains (these should not be reconnected after flooding until checked by an accredited person).
  • Unplug all electrical items and move to higher area.
  • Move priorities offsite or higher.
  • Empty cases if possible and move drawers.
  • Raise large items on bricks or blocks.
  • Leave internal doors open.
  • Weigh down or tie together items that cannot be moved.
  • Move items away from windows.
  • Move kit, emergency plan or catalogues offsite.
  • Arrange for nightwatchman for security.
  • Limit entry of water with sandbags or plywood or metal sheeting on outside doors, window frames and airbricks until waters recede. Use silicone sealant to increase resistance.
  • Put plugs in sinks and lids down on toilets, then weigh them down with a heavy object.
  • Weigh down manhole covers.
  • Move any dangerous chemicals or objects that may contaminate flood waters further.
  • Move away from site to safe area and do not reenter until directed by someone in the Emergency Management Team.

When waters recede and access is possible, you would revert to the procedures for re-entering a building, which emphasize safety and getting most of the water out.

Also see Emma’s top tips for dealing with flooding in libraries on the CILIP website.

Emergency Planning and Response for Libraries, Archives and MuseumsThis is an extract from Emergency Planning and Response for Libraries, Archives and Museums by Emma Dadson.

Download Chapter 1 of Emergency Planning and Response for Libraries, Archives and Museums (PDF)